I had the great pleasure of concepting, directing and photographing a hybrid live performance/music video for producer Dan Huiting (City of Music). The video was for Porcelain Raft’s song “Unless You Speak From the Heart”. The video premiered yesterday on Pitchfork.tv
We used roughly 30 channels on a dimmer board to light the main close-up which gave us a nearly infinite variety of lighting styles and colors to play with… I wish I could have take the concept even further… some day. I had a blast making this and the crew was amazing.
Extra shout out to Crist Ballas and his amazing makeup team for helping create the wonderful faces we see, Gaffer Dave Underhill and his team of awesome guys, editor Jason Ho and colorist Josh Allard at Pixel Farm.
Some behind the scenes stuff:
Mauro entertains the crew with a rendition of Eye of the Tiger.
This is old news, but I wanted to post something. I wish I had blogged this earlier. Back at the beginning of this month, Stuck Between Stations, a feature that I shot, opened its theatrical run in New York. The New York Times ran a piece about the film. Here it is.
and the trailer, for those who have not seen it.
The movie will play in Minneapolis starting on December 16th at Saint Anthony Main.
Over the last year or so, I have had the great fortune of working with Andy Awes (director) on a number of projects for Best Buy. These are the two most recent spots we shot.
The first one was for the X-Box release of Gears of War 3. It was interesting to me because the entire spot is two shots. This was nice for me as we could spend a good amount of time lighting the shot and making sure things were just right. I think the spot plays well and am very pleased with how it looks. Some might criticize it as being over-lit, but I think that’s the point… to me, it feels hyper-real. Almost a cartoon. The lighting crew did a great job (Gaffed by Michael Handley and Key Gripped by Joe Gallup). Terri Gold made art department magic and first AC TJ Schwingle made my life very easy. We shot on Alexa with Ultra Primes. Michael Sandness at Slice Here was our colorist.
The second spot (“Blue Monster”) was also shot on Alexa. This spot was a 3 day shoot. The longest I’ve ever had to put together a 30 second spot. This was necessitated by the large number of practical locations and the sheer number of shots. Gaffer Michael Handley did a great job managing a large crew and Key Grip Peter Clemence built a number of very impressive rigs with the help of his crew. One of these rigs involved suspending a pipe frame over the audience at the end of the spot that held two 6’ 2 bank Kino-Flos. This was done by attaching lines to 4 points and dodging a power line that we had to contend with, he picked points off of the main house, a chimney next door, and two trees.The thing that blows my mind is how hard everyone worked for these shots and we only see them for a moment… if I did my job right, they should stick in your mind. (fingers crossed).
I am including a gallery of images from the spots. I wish I had done a better job of documenting the lighting setups on “Blue Monster”, but I did include a sun-path I took to determine what time of day and from what angle to shoot our wide “farm house” exterior. You can, however, see a couple of shots from behind the scenes of “Gears of War” that show how we lit our subjects. Hooray for iPhones!
Last year I shot a documentary with director Juan Antonio del Rosario. The subject was boxing. Going into the project, I didn’t have much appreciation for the sport… but through the process of making it, I came to appreciate and respect it. I think this film is great and I am fortunate to have been asked to work on it. The fights were photographed by multiple cameras and all the operators did a great job. Thanks to Eli Ljung, Bill Prouty, Matt Joyer and Andre Durand. Also thanks to Darin Spring for hooking some lighting gear for us to use to shoot our boxers in the Gym. I hope you enjoy this film as much as I do.
It’s been a crazy busy summer and I have been neglecting my blog (among other things). This past June I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Easter Island to shoot a piece for Committee Films that will air as a co-production of Nova/National Geographic. The documentary will follow two archeologists, Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo and showcase some of the research they did for their book “The Statues That Walked”.
One of my goals while on Easter Island was to shoot as many timelapse shots as I could. Including night-time timelapses. I had never done these before. I shot them on my Nikon D700 as still-image sequences. Below are some stills from the trip and a sneak-peak at some of the timelapse shots. I really wish I could spend a month on that island just shooting timelapse material and stills.
April was so much fun! I spent a week of it in New York City with some good friends for the premiere of Stuck Between Stations (SBS) at the Tribeca Film Festival. SBS was directed by Brady Kiernan, produced by Spencer Kiernan and Todd Cobery, starring Sam Rosen and Zoe Lister-Jones. Sam Rosen also was a producer and co-writter with screenwriter Nat Bennet. Sam Heyn edited. We partied.
I also got to catch up with my old High School friend Emily Bauer and her Beau, Eamon, and spent some time with my old friend Kelly Mahoney (now 7 months preggers! so stoked!).
This was by FAR the most fun I’ve had in NYC.
The image below is a link to a full gallery on Flickr:
I am getting ready to cut a new reel, my current reel is over a year old and getting dusty… One of the projects I was pulling shots from was Who Really Discovered America, a documentary I shot for Committee Films last winter/spring… it came out on The History Channel this past summer… My new reel will be (much like the current one) fast paced, so there was not a lot of room for long landscape shots… thus, I cut together this piece as a sort of visual lullaby… it’s nice to see theselandscape shots all strung together, it gives a sense of the variety of places we visited and makes all the times we rushed at high speeds to get to a spot to shoot the sunset, worthwhile. Many thanks to Andy Awes, Ben Krueger and Phil Joncas for allowing me to be on this project and for sharing in these moments with me.
Cheers!Also, here’s a link to the video on Vimeo:
This month, I had the great experience of getting out of the cold for 3 weeks while I bounced around between Florida and Texas.
First, I had a job with Committee Films, shooting Dairy Queen web content for Space 150. (http://www.dairyqueen.com/us-en/mini/videos/) We were a very small crew, with a big monster truck version of a mini cooper and lots of ice cream to give out. We also gave away 3 Mini Cooper Countryman’s. The talent was really fun to work with and the crew did a great job of adapting to the often chaotic environments.
Then I had a couple of days off in Tampa, so I got to see my friends Dave Cook and Brora MacFarland, as well as Cleave Frink. Dave was the gaffer on Souvenirs and Brora had done craft service, Cleave was the AD… It was nice to relax and catch up (and get a wicked sunburn).
Next I hopped a plane to Austin TX for SXSW where my good friend Todd Cobery had a short film premiering, “Good Morning Beautiful”, which I had acted as cinematographer on. We were joined by Todd’s wife Andrea, producer Brady Kiernan, actor David Tufford and Shannon Rusten, editor Joe Martin and his wife Nikki and my friend TJ Schwingle (who AC’d for me on the film and is also a cinematographer). http://www.goodmorningbeautifulmovie.com/
SXSW was a lot of fun. What I didn’t expect was running into as many friends as I did… I got to catch up with Meghan Newell, a friend from High School I had not seen in over 10 years, who as luck would have it was rooming in the San Francisco Embassy with my old Chicago friend and former roommate Ryan Marshall. I also got to see my friend Jose Rios who I was in the trenches with in film school in Chicago, as well as my buddy from my days at Minnesota Public Radio, Michael Wells. The biggest surprise was catching up with Amy Ecklund, a friend from my University of Iowa days… which was amazing! It seemed that someone from almost every period of my life was there. I got to watch some very unique films, see old friends and whoop it up in one of my favorite towns.
Then I took off, back to Florida. This time to Fort Myers to shoot a pair of spots for the Minnesota Twins. Quan Hoang directed while Julie Kaupa produced. Periscope was the agency and everyone from client, agency to the crew (part MN, part FL) was AMAZING. Dave Cook gaffed, Crist Ballas did some zany things with hair and paint, Greg Wolf was our Key Grip, TJ AC’d, Mikel Cook provided the camera and 2nd AC’d, Brora kept us fat.
We had very little time to shoot, but we could set up for a few hours each day, so the crew learned the dance moves between setups and when it came time to utilize the short window we had with these world-class athletes, we moved quickly and efficiently. The creative was really hilarious.. I can’t wait to see/post the spots!
Now I’m back in the cold North, but it’s getting warmer… where there was a 4 foot high snow bank that I had to clamber over to get to my car, there is now earth… progress… always progress.
Here is a link to the full gallery of photos from these adventures.